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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  November 14, 2013 12:00pm-1:00pm EST

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took the opportunity again to criticizes the nation's health care law. >> you can't fix this government run health care plan called obama care. this is going to ruin the best health care system in the world. >> indeed, it is the best health care law with 47 million uninsured americans. raucous caucus will vote on a bill with fred oupton. with me luke russert and howard dean. salon contributor and radio host of 360 curt anderson. governor dean, i would like to start with you. >> the health care guy. >> the health care guy. was this inevitable, the health care fix? >> i wouldn't have gone for a fix. our state with an exchange hired
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the same people as the federal exchange. we have the same problem. what the government did, see it coming, understand after a period of time where you couldn't fix it, we're going to paper and telephone lines. that's what should happen. i don't think back off any of this. make a solution available. if they have to throw the web cover over the side, we did social security on telephone lines. they shoould not back off. the bill is a joke, which gets i rid of insurance reforms which help ordinary americans. >> you think he could have with stood senate democrats, diane feinstein, mary landrieu. >> the guy has a pen worth two-thirds of the vote in the senate and house. if you want to make it work, be tough and hard-nosed about it. he's not going to run for re-election.
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if it's me, my popularity goes down to 10%, what do i care. it worked in massachusetts. 98.5% of all massachusetts citizens have health care. he bought this, it's his. he ought to make it work. it can work but not with this website. >> the one issue is not what he's fixing or, in my view politically isn't the biggest problem, it's the fact this promise he made dozens of times isn't true. >> that's a function of the website failure. the website doesn't fail -- these insurance people's policies getting rejected, they are terrible. they are $50 a month and you get nothing. >> people say that. being a victim of such a cancellation and having a good policy, i'm inclined in my anecdotal instance to say, not so much. >> isn't part of what's missed, that comment from john boehner when john boehner said this is a government takeover of the health care system. >> the best run health care delivery service in the world with 47 million uninsured.
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>> there's that, but also the idea it's the government's fault. what we're talking about here is the fact that the private insurance companies and the private company that set up the website has created a lot of the problems here. in other words, i would say this is a failure of the idea that when you outsource things -- >> i'm going to interrupt you. the president is about to take the podium. lets whoer what he has to say. >> i'll take a couple of questions but before i do i want to say a few words about the tragedy that's unfolded in the philippines. over the past few days, i think all of us have been shaken by images of the devastation brought by typhoon haiyan. it's a heartbreaking reminder of how fragile life is. among the dead are several americans. our prayers are with the filipino people and filipino americans across the country who are anxious about their family and friends back home.
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one of our core principles is, when our friends are in trouble, america helps. as i told president aquino, america will continue to offer whatever assistance we can. our military personnel and usaid team do this better than anything. they have been working tirelessly on the ground to help with food, shelter, airlift. today the aircraft carrier "uss george washington" and other ships arrived to help with semple and rescue, as well as supplies, medical care and logistical support. more help is on the way. america's strength, of course, has been more than about what our government can do. it's also about what our citizens can do. it's about the big-heartedness of the american people when they see other folks in trouble. today i would encourage everybody who wants to help to visit white
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that's white that will offer you links to organizations working on the ground in ways you can support their efforts. our friends in the philippines will face a long, hard road ahead but they will continue to have a friend and partner in the united states of america. switching gears. it has now been six weeks since the affordable care act's new marketplace has been open for business. i think it's fair to say the rollout has been rough so far. i think everybody understands i'm not happy about the fact that the rollout has been wrought with a whole range of problems i've been deeply concerned about. but today i want to talk about what we know after these first few weeks and what we're doing to implement and improve the law. yesterday the white house announced in the first month more than 100,000 americans
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successfully enrolled in new insurance plans. is that as high a number as we'd like? absolutely not. but it does mean that people want affordable health care. the problem of the website have prevented too many americans from completing the enrollment process, and that's on us, not on them. but there's no question there's real demand for quality, affordable health insurance. in the first month nearly a million people successfully completed an application for themselves and their families. those applications represent 1.5 million people. of those 1.5 million people, 106,000 of them have successfully signed up to get covered. another 106,000 had access to medicaid under the affordable care act. that's been less reported on but it shouldn't be. americans who are having a difficult time, who are poor, many of them working, may have a
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disable, they are american like everybody else. the fact they are able to get insurance is critically important. later today i'll be in ohio where governor kasich, a republican expanded affordable care act and 175,000 ohioans will be better off because of it. if every governor followed suit another 5.4 million americans could gain access to health care next year. bottom line is in just one month, despite all the problems we've seen with the website more than 500,000 americans could know the security of health care by january 1st, many of them for the first time in their lives. that's life changing. it's significant. that still leaves about 1 million americans who successfully made it through the website, now qualified to buy insurance but haven't picked a plan yet. there's no question if the website were working as it's
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supposed to, that number would be much higher of people who have actually enrolled. that's problem number one, making sure the website works the way it's supposed to. it's gotten a lot better over the last few weeks than it was on the first day but we're working 24/7 to get it working for the vast majority of americans in a smooth, consistent way. the other problem that has received a lot of attention concerns americans who received letters from their insurers that they may be losing the plans they bought not individual market often because they no longer meet the law's requirements to cover basic benefits like prescription drugs or doctor's visits. as i indicated earlier, i completely get how upsetting this can be for a lot of americans, particularly after assurances they heard from me that if they had a plan they liked, they could keep it. to those americans, i hear you loud and clear.
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i said that i would do everything we can to fix this problem and today i'm offering an idea that will help do it. already people who have plans that predate the affordable care act can keep those plans if they haven't changed. that was already in the law. that's what's called a grandfather clause included in the law. today we're going to extend that principle both to people whose plans have changed since the law took effect and to people who bought plans since the law took effect. so state insurance commissioners still have the power to decide what plans can and can't be sold in their states. but the bottom line, insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be canceled into 2014 and americans whose plans had been canceled can choose to reenroll in the same kind of plan. we're also requiring insurers to extend current plans to inform customers about two things. one, protections -- what protections these renewed plans
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don't include. number two, that the marketplace offers new options with better coverage and tax credits that might help you bring down the cost. so if you received one of these letters, i'd encourage you to take a look at the marketplace, even if the website isn't working as smootly as it should be for everybody yet, the planned comparison tool that lets you browse cost plans near you is working just fine. this fix won't solve every problem for every person but it's going to help a lot of people. doing more will require work with congress. i've said from the beginning, i'm willing to work with democrats and republicans to fix problems as they arise. this is an example of what i was talking about. we can always make this law work better. it is important to understand, though, that the old individual market was not working well.
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it's important we don't pretend somehow that's a place worth going back to. too often it works fine as long as you stay healthy. it doesn't work well when you're sick. so year after year, americans were routinely exposed to financial ruin or pre-existing conditions or dropped from coverage all together even if they paid their premiums on time. that's one of the reason we pursued this reform in the first place. that's why i will not except proposals that are brazen attempts to undermine or repeal the old law and drag us back into a broken system. we will continue to make the case, even to folks who choose to keep their own plans they should shop around in the new marketplace because there's a good chance they will be able to buy better insurance at lower cost. so we're going to do everything we can to help americans who received these cancellation notices. but i also want everybody to remember there's still 40
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million americans who don't have health insurance at all. i'm not going to walk away from 40 million people who have a chance to get health insurance for the first time and i'm not going to walk away from something that helped the cost of health care grow at its slowest rate in 50 years. so we're at the opening weeks of the project to build a better health care system for everybody, a system that will offer real financial security and peace of mind to millions of americans. it is a complex process. there are all kinds of challenges. i'm sure there will be additional challenges that come up. it's important that we're honest and straightforward in terms of when we come up with a problem with these reforms and these laws that we address them. but we've got to move forward on this. it took 100 years for us to even get to the point where we could start talking about and implementing a law to make sure everybody got health insurance. my pledge to the american people
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is we're going to solve the problems that are there. we're going to get it rightings and the affordable care act is going to work for the american people. so with that i'm going to take your questions and i'm going to start with julie pace of ap. >> the combination of the website problems and concerns over the policy have concerns in the party. polls show you're taking hits with the public on your overall job approval on factors of trust and honesty. do you feel as though the flawed health care rollout led to a breach in public trust and government. if so, how do you plan to resolve that? >> there is no doubt that people are frustrated. we just came out of a shutdown and the possibility for the first time in 200 years we wouldn't pay our bills. people breathe a sigh of relief when that finally got done. the next thing they know is that
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the president's health care reform can't get the website to work. these other problems with respect to cancellation notices. i understand why folks are frustrated. i would be, too. sometimes people look at what's taking place in washington, and they say not enough is getting done that helps me with my life. you know, regardless of what congress does, ultimately i'm the president of the united states and they expect me to do something about it. so in terms of how i intend to approach it, i'm just going to keep on working as hard as i can around the priorities that the american people care about. and i think it's legitimate for them to expect me to have to win back some credibility on this health care law in particular and on a whole range of these issues in general.
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you know, that's on me. i mean, we fumbled the rollout on this health care law. there are a whole bunch of things about it that are working really well which people didn't notice, because they weren't controversial. so making sure kids could stay on their parents' plans until they were -- up through the age of 25. making sure seniors got more discounts on their prescription drugs. there were a whole bumpl of stuff we had we -- bunch of stuff we did well over the first three years. but we always knew the marketplace creating a place through competition get a better deal for the health insurance their families need, we knew that would be complicated and everybody would be paying a lot of attention to it. we should have done a better job getting that right on day one. not on day 28 or on day 40.
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i am confident that by the time we look back on this next year that people are going to say this is working well and it's helping a lot of people. but my intention in terms of winning back the confidence of the american people is just to work as hard as i can. identify the problems that we've got, make sure we're fixing them, whether it's a website, whether it's making sure folks who got these cancellation notices get help. we're just going to keep on chipping away at this until the job is done. major garrett. >> thank you, mr. president. you said while the law was being debated if you like your plan you can keep it. you said after the law was implemented or signed, if you like your plan, you can keep it. americans believed you, sir, when you said that to them over and over. >> right.
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>> do you not believe americans deserve a deeper, more transparent accountability from you as to why you said that over and over when your own statistics in the federal register alerted your policy staff, i assume you, that millions of americans would fall into the administrative gap you're trying to fix now. that's one question. second question. you were informed, or several people in this building were informed, two weeks before the launch of the website that it was failing the most pask tests internally yet a deciding was made to launch the website on october 1st. did you make that decision? >> the website, i was not informed directly the website would not be working the way it was supposed to. had i been informed, i wouldn't go out and say, this is going to be great. i'm accused of a lot of things, but i don't think i'm stupid enough to go around saying this is going to be like shopping on
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amazon or travelocity a week before the website opens if i thought it wasn't going to work. so clearly we and i did not have enough awareness about the problems in the website, even a week into it. the thinking was these were some glitches that would be fixed with patches as opposed to some broader systemic problems that took much longer to fix and we're still working on them. so that doesn't excuse the fact they don't work. i think it's fair to say, no, garrett, major, we wouldn't have rolled out something knowing very well it wouldn't work the way it was supposed to given all the scrutiny we knew would be on the website. with respect to the pledge i made if you like your plan, you can keep it. i've said in interviews that there is no doubt that the way i
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put that forward unequivocably ended up not being accurate. it was not because of my intention not to deliver on that commitment and that promise. we put a grandfather clause into the law but it was insufficient. keep in mind that the individual market accounts for 5% of the population. so when i said you can keep your health care, i'm looking at folks who have employer-based health care, i'm looking at folks with medicare and medicaid and that accounts for the vast majority of americans. and then for people who don't have any health insurance at all, obviously that didn't apply. my commitment to them was you're going to be able to get affordable heck for the first time. you have an individual market that accounts for 5% of the population. our working assumption was -- my working assumption was that the majority of those folks would
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find better policies at lower costs or the same costs in the marketpla marketplaces, and that the universe of folks who potentially would not find a better deal in the marketplaces, the grandfather clause would work sufficiently for them. and it didn't. again, that's on us. that's on me. that's why i'm trying to fix it. as i said earlier, i guess last week, and i will repeat, that's something i deeply regret because it's scary getting a cancellation notice. it is important to understand that out of that population, typically there is constant churn in that market. this market is not very stable and reliable for people. so people have a lot of
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complaints when they are in that marketplace. as long as you're healthy, things seem to be going pretty good. so a lot of people think i've got pretty good insurance, until they get sick. then suddenly they look at the fine print and they have got $50,000 out-of-pocket expense they can't pay. we know that on average, over the last decade, each year premiums in that individual market would go up an average of 15% a year. i know that because of when we were talking about health care reform, one of the complaints was i bought health care in the individual market, and i just got a notice from the insurer they dropped me after i had an illness or my premiums skyrocketed by 20 or 30%. why aren't we doing something about this. so part of what our goal has been is to make sure that that individual market is stable and fair and has consumer protections to make sure people
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adopt get a rude surprise when they really need health insurance. but if you just got a cancellation notice and so far you're thinking my prices are pretty good. you haven't been sick. it fits your budget. now you get this notice. you're going to be worried about it. if the insurers say the reason you're getting this notice is because of the affordable care act, then you're going to be understandably aggravated about it. now, for a big portion of those people, the truth is they might get a notice saying we're jacking up your rates by 30%. they might have said from here on out, we're not going to coverage x, y, z illnesses. these are all 12-month policies. the insurance companies were under no obligation to renew the exact same policies you had before. but look, one of the things i understood when we decided to reform the health insurance
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market -- part of the reason why it hasn't been done before and it's very difficult to do is that anything that's going on that's tough in the health care market, if you initiated a reform can be attributed to your law. and so what we want to do is to be able to say to these folks, you know what, the affordable care act is not going to be the reason why insurers have to cancel your plan. now, what folks may find is the insurance companies may still come back and say we want to charge you 20% more than we did last year, or we're not going to cover prescription drugs now. that's in the nature of the market that existed earlier. >> did you decide, sir, the simple declaration was something the american people could handle but this nuance was something they could handle and didn't truss the american people with the fuller truth? >> no. i think, as i said earlier,
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major, my expectation was that for 98% of the american people either it genuinely wouldn't change at all or they would be pleasantly surprised with the options in the marketplace, and that the grandfather clause would cover the rest. that proved not to be the case. that's on me. and the american people -- those who got cancellation notices do deserve and have received an apology from me. they don't want just words. what they want is whether we can make sure they are in a better place and that we meet that commitment. by the way, i think it's very important for me to note there are a whole bunch of folks up in congress and others who made this statement and they were entirely sincere about it. the fact that you got this percentage of people who have
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had this impact, i want them to know, you know, their senator or congressman, they were making representations based on what i told them and what this white house and our administrative staff told them. so it's not on them. it's on us. but it is something we intend to fix. steve. >> do you have reason to believe iran would walk away from nuclear talks if congress rolls out new sanctions? would a diplomatic breakdown at this stage leave you no option for military action? how do you respond to your critics on the hill who say it was only tough sanctions to got iran, only tougher sanctions will make them capitulate. >> let me make a couple of points. number one, i've said before and i repeat, we do not want iran to have nuclear weapons.
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and it would be not only dangerous to us and our allies, but it would be destabilizing to the entire region and trigger a nuclear arms race that would make life much more dangerous for all of us. so our policy is iran cannot have nuclear weapons. i'm leaving all options on the table to make sure we meet that goal. point number two, the reason we have got such vigorous sanctions is because i, i and my administration put in place when i came in office international structure to have the most effective sanctions ever. and so i think it's fair to say that i know a little bit about sanctions since we set them up and made sure that we mobilize the entire international community so there weren't a lot of loopholes and really had bite. the intention in setting up those sanctions always was to
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bring the iranians to the table so we could resolve this issue peacefully. that is my preference. that's my preference because any armed conflict has cost to it. it's also my prerference becaus the best way to assure a country doesn't have nuclear weapons is because they are making a decision not to have nuclear weapons and we're in a position to verify they don't have nuclear weapons. so as a consequence of the sanctions we put in place, and i appreciate all the help -- bipartisan help we received from congress in making that happen, iran's economy has been crippled. they had a negative 5% growth rate last year. their currency plummeted. they are having significant problems in just day to day economy on the ground in iran.
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president rouhani made a decision he was prepared to come and have a conversation with the international community about what they could do to solve this problem with us. we've now had a series of conversations. it has never been realistic that we would resolve the entire problem all at once. what we have done is seen the possibility of an agreement in which iran would halt advances on its program, that it would dilute make of the highly enriched uranium that makes it easier for them to potentially produce a weapon, that they are subjecting themselves to much more vigorous inspections so that we know exactly what they are doing at their various facilities and that would then provide time and space for us to
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test over a certain period of months whether or not they are prepared to actually resolve this issue to the satisfaction of the international community, making us confident that, in fact, they are not pursuing a nuclear weapons program. in return, the basic structure of what's been talked about, although not completed, is that we would provide very modest relief at the margins of the sanctions that we've set up. but importantly we would leave in place the core sanctions that are most effective and have most impact on the iranian economy, specifically oil sanctions and sanctions with respect to banks and financing. and what that gives us is the opportunity to test how serious are they, but it also gives us
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an assurance that if it turns out six months from now that they are not serious, we can crank -- we can dial those sanctions right back up. so my message to congress has been, lets see if the short-term phase one deal can be completed to our satisfaction where we're absolutely certain that while we're talking with the iranians they are not busy advancing their program. we can buy some additional months in terms of their breakout capacity. lets test how willing they are to actually resolve this diplomatically, peacefully. we will have lost nothing if at the end of the day it turns out they are not prepared to provide the international community the hard proof and assurances
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necessary for us to know they are not pursuing a nuclear weapon. and if that turns out to be the case, not only is our entire sanctions infrastructure still in place, not only are they still losing money from the fact they can't sell their oil and get revenue from their oil as easily even throughout these talks, but other options remain. what i've said to members of congress is that if, in fact, we're serious about trying to resolve this diplomatically, because no matter how good our military is, military options are always messy, are always difficult, always have unintended consequences. and in this situation are never complete in terms of making us certain that they don't then go
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out and pursue even more vigorously nuclear weapons in the future. if we're serious about pursuing diplomacy, there's no need for us to add new sanctions on top of the sanctions that are already very effective and brought them to the table in the first place. now, if it turns out they can't deliver, they can't come to the table in a serious way and get this issue resolved, the sanctions can be ramped back up. we've got that option. >> roger, it's his birthday, by the way. that's not the reason you got a question but it was important to note that. happy birthday. >> back to health care. can you guarantee for the american people that the health care website is going to be fully operational for all people, not just the vast majority, by november 30th?
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second, more broadly, this is your signature domestic piece of legislation. you hear criticism on the hill that you and your white house team are too isolated. is that how this mess came to be? >> i think there's going to be a lot of evaluation of how we got to this point. i assure you that i've been asking a lot of questions about that. the truth is that this is, number one, very complicated. the website itself is doing a lot of stuff. there aren't a lot of websites out there that have to help people compare their possible
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insurance options, verify income to find out what kind of tax credits they will get, communicate with the insurance companies to make sure they can purchase, make sure it's verified. there's just a bunch of pieces to it that made it challenging. and you combine that with the fact the federal government does a lot of things really well. one of the things it does not do well is information technology procu procurement. this is a systematic problem we have across the board. and it is not surprising, then, that there were going to be some problems. i think we have to ask ourselves hard questions inside the white house as opposed to why we didn't see more of these problems coming earlier on. affirm, so we could set expectations. b, so that we could look for different ways for people to end up applying.
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so ultimately, you're right. this is something that's really important to me and it's really important to millions of americans who have been waiting for a really long time to try to get health care because they don't have it. i am very frustrated but i'm also somebody who if i fumble the ball, i'm going to wait until i get the next play and i'm going to try to run as hard as i can and do right by the team. so ultimately i'm the head of this team. we did fumble the ball on it. what i'm going to do is make sure that we get it fixed. in terms of what happens on november 30th or december 1st, i think it's fair to say that the improvement will be marked and noticeable. the website will work much better on november 30th,
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december 1st than it worked certainly on october 1st. that's pretty low bar. it will be working a lot better than it was last week and will be working better than it was this week, which means the majority of people who go to the website will see a website that is working the way it's supposed to. i think it is not possible for me to guarantee that 100% of the people 100% of the time going on this website will have a perfectly seamless, smooth experience. we're going to have to continue to improve it even after november 30th, december 1st. but the majority of people who use it will be able to see it operate the way it was supposed to. one thing that we discovered, though, that i think is worth noting, a lot of focus has been on the website and the
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technology. that's partly because that's how we initially identified it. these are glitches. what we're discovering is that part of the problem has been technology, hardware and software and that's being upgraded. but even if we get the hardware and software working exactly the way it's supposed to, with relatively minor glitches, what we're also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy. another mistake we made, i think, was underestimating the difficulties of people purchasing insurance online and shopping for a lot of options with a lot of costs and a lot of different benefits and plans and somehow expecting that would be very smooth. then they have also got to try to apply for tax credits on the
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website. so what we're doing even as we're trying to solve the technical problems is also what can we do to make the application a little bit simpler. what can we do english to make it bureaucraticese, steps needed. and part of what we're realizing is there are going to be a certain portion of people who are going to need more help and handholding in the application process. so i guess part of the continuous improvement that i'm looking at is not just a technical issue, it's also can we streamline the application process, what are we doing to give people more assistance in
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the process, how do the call centers and people who are helping folks in person, how are they trained so that things can go more smoothly. the bottom line is i just want people to know what their options are in a clear way. you know, buying health insurance is never going to be like buying a song on itunes. it's just a much more complicated transaction. but i think we can continue to make it better. all of which is to say that on december 1st, november 30th, it will be a lot better. but there will still be some problems. some of those will not be because of technological problems, although i'm sure there will still be some glitches that have to be smoothed out, some is going to be how are we making this
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application process more user friendly for folks. you know, one good example of this, by the way, just to use an analogy, when we came into office, we heard a lot of complaints about the financial aid forms that families have to fill out to get federal financial aid. i actually remember applying for some of that stuff and remember how difficult and confusing it was. arian arou arne duncan -- we sat down with actual users and see how well is this working, what part didn't you understand. that all, i think, is part of what we're working on in the weeks ahead. >> what about insularity
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criticism on the hill? >> i have to say i meet with a lot of folks and talk to a lot of folks every day. i have lunches with ceos and i.t. venture capitalists and labor leaders. you know, pretty much folks from all walks of life on a whole bunch of topics. if you looked at my schedule on any given day, we're interacting with a whole lot of people. i think it's fair to say we have a pretty good track record of working with folks on technology and i.t. from our campaign where both in 2008 and 2012, we did a pretty darn good job on that. so it's not the idea that somehow we didn't have access or were interested in people's ideas i think isn't accurate. what is true is that as i said
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before, our i.t. systems, how we purchase technology in the federal government is cumbersome, complicated and outdated. so this isn't a situation where on my campaign i could simply say who are the best folks out there. lets get them around the table. lets figure out what we're doing. we're just going to continue to improve it and refinite and work on our goals. if you're doing it at the federal government level, you're going through 40 pages of specs and this and that and the other. there are all kinds of laws involved. it makes it more difficult. it's part of the reason why chronically federal i.t. programs are over budget, behind schedule. when i do some monday morning quarterbacking on myself, one of the things i do recognize is since i know that the federal government has not been good at this stuff in the past, two
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years ago as we were thinking about this, we might have done more to make sure we're breaking the mold on how we were going to be setting this up. that doesn't help us now. we've got to move forward. jeff mason. >> thank you, mr. president. today's fixed you announced leaves it up to state insurance commissioner and insurance companies to ultimately decide whether to allow policies to be renewed for a year. how confident are you they will do that? secondly, how concerned are you this flawed rollout may hurt democrats' chances in next year's midterm election and yourable to advance other priorities such as immigration reform. >> on the first question, traditionally state insurance commissioners make decisions about what plans can be or cannot be sold, how they interact with insurers. what we're essentially saying is the affordable care act is not going to be the factor in what
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happens with folks in the individual market. my guess is right away you're going to see a number of state insurance commissioners exercise it. part of the challenge, individual markets are different in different states. there are some states that have individual insurance markets that already have almost all the consumer protections the affordable care act does. they match up pretty good. it's not some big jump for folks to move into the marketplace. in others, pretty low standards. you can sell pretty substandard plans in those markets. that's where people might see a bigger jump in their premiums. so i think there's going to be some state by state evaluation on how this is handled. the key point is that it allows us to be able to say to the folks who received these
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notices, look, i, the president of the united states and the insurance -- insurance model of the affordable care act, is not going to be getting in the way of you shopping in the individual market that you used to have. as i said, there's still going to be some folks who over time i think are going to find that the marketplaces are better. one way i describe this to -- i met with a group of senators when this issue first came up. it's not a perfect analogy. we made a decision as a society that every car has to have a seat belt or airbags. so you pass a regulation. there's some additional cost particularly at the start of increasing the safety and protections but we make a decision as a society that the
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costs are outweighed by the benefits of all the lives that are saved. so what we're saying now is if you're buying a new car, you've got to have a seat belt. well, the problem with the grandfather clause that we put in place is, it's almost like we said to folks you've got to buy a new car even if you can't afford it right now. sooner or later folks are going to start trading in their old cars. we don't need -- if their life circumstance is such where for now at least they want to keep the old car, even if the new car is better, we should be able to give them that option and that's what we want to do. and by the way, that's what we should have been able to do in drafting the rules in the first place. again, these are two fumbles on something that -- on a big game.
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but the game is not over. with respect to the politics of it, you know, i'll let you guys do a lot of the work on projecting what this means for various political scenarios. there is no doubt that our failure to roll out the aca smoothly has put a burden on democrats, whether they are running or not. they stood up and supported this effort through thick and thin. and i feel deeply responsible for making it harder for them rather than easier for them to
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continue to promote the core values i think led them to support this thing in the first place, which is in this country, as wealthy as we are, everybody should be able to have the security of affordable health care. and that's why i feel so strongly about fixing it. my first and foremost obligation is the american people to make sure they can get what's there if we can just get the darn website working and smooth this thing out, which are plans that are affordable and allow them to take advantage of tax credits and give them a better deal. i do feel an obligation to everybody out there who supported this effort. you know, when we don't do a good job on the rollout, we're letting them down. i don't like doing that.
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my commitment to them is we're going to just keep doing better every day until we get it done. and in terms of the impact on me, i think to some extent i addressed it when i talked to julie, there are going to be ups and downs during the course of my presidency. i think i said early on when i was running i am not a perfect man and i will not be a perfect president, but i'll wake up every single day working as hard as i can on behalf of americans out there from every walk of life who are working hard meeting their responsibilities, but sometimes struggling because the way the system works isn't giving them a fair shot. that pledge i haven't broke. that commitment, that promise continues to be -- continues to
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hold, the promise that i wouldn't be perfect, number one, but also the promise that as long as i've got the honor of having this office, i'm just going to work as hard as i can to make things better for folks. what that means specifically in this health care arena, we can't go back to the status quo. right now everybody is properly focused on us not doing a good job on the rollout. that's legitimate, and i get it. there have been times where i thought we were kind of, you know, slapped around a little bit unjustly. this one is deserved. right. it's on us. but we can't lose sight of the fact that the status quo before the affordable care act was not working at all. the health care system had been working fine and everybody had high-quality health insurance at affordable prices, i wouldn't
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have made it a priority. we wouldn't have been fighting this hard to get it done, which is why when i see sometimes folks up on capitol hill and republicans in particular who have been suggesting repeal, repeal, lets get rid of this thing, i keep on asking what is it you want to do. are you suggesting the status quo was working? it wasn't. everybody knows it. it wasn't working in the individual market and it certainly wasn't working for the 41 million people who didn't have health insurance. so what we did was we chose a path that was the least disruptive to try to finally make sure that health care is treated in this country like it is in every other advanced country, that it's not some privilege that just a certain portion of people can have but someone everybody has some confidence about. we didn't go far left and choose
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an approach that would have been much more disruptive. we didn't adopt some more conservative proposals that would have been much more disruptive, we tried to choose a way that built off the existing system. it is complicated. it is hard. i make no apologies for us taking this on. somebody sooner or later had to do it. i do make apologies for not having executed better over the last several months. >> you think that execution and roggeout will affect other things, immigration reform, another policy -- >> if it comes to immigration reform, there is no reason for us not to do immigration reform. we've already got strong bipartisan support for immigration reform out of the senate. you've got -- i met with a
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number of traditionally very conservative clergy who are deeply committed to immigration reform. we've got the business community entirely behind immigration reform. so you've got a bunch of constituencies traditionally much more -- have leaned much more heavily toward republicans who are behind this. if people are looking for an excuse not to do the right thing on immigration reform, they can always find an excuse. we've run out of time or this is hard. the list goes on and on. but my working assumption is people should want to do the right thing. when you've got an issue that would strengthen borders, make sure that the legal immigration system works the way it's supposed to, that would go after employers who are doing the wrong thing when it comes to hiring undocumented workers and would allow folks who are here
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legally to get right with the law and pay pa fine and learn english an get to the back of the line but ultimately join fully our american community, when you've got a law that makes sense, you shouldn't be looking for an excuse not to do it. i'm going to keep on pushing to make sure it gets done. am i going to have to do some work to rebuild confidence around some of our initiatives, yeah. but part of this job is the things that go right you guys aren't going to write about. the things that go wrong get prominent attention. that's the way it's always been. that's not unique to me as president. i'm up for the challenge, all right? we're going to get this done. thank you, everybody. >> thank you president obama offering an administrative fix to the political over affordable
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care act. individuals plans who have not been canceled to remain on them another year. allow customers whose plans have been canceled to rein roll, in their old plans. will not allowed to offer such plans to new consumers. that's all the time -- we have more time. governor dean. >> i'll keep it short because i can talk forever for health care. affirm, i wonder if he had the legal authority to do this since it's a congressional bill that set it up. b, i stick to what i said before the president came on. if you want to make it work, you've got to get people in the system. the web is not going to work for a while, have a call center someplace. >> does this alleviate his problems? where does he go from here? >> no. house democrats and senate democrats, they are very angry about this. guess what, they are the ones
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whose jobs are on the line coming up in 2014. i talked to a lot of house democrats who were livid, said the president hung them out to dry, did not have their backs. they are angry and the president add mied that saying the botched rollout made prospects for democratic victory more difficult. he admitted that in the press conference. however, as bad as this is, remember a month ago we were seeing saying the same things about republicans. if there's a silver lining for the president. he's going to get battered by this through thanksgiving. house has no other agenda, nothing on the calendar. they are not going to do immigration reform. battered up to christmas. january 15th the stage is set for another government shutdown. that could be the one saving grace in 2014. 2013 was a wash. that was brutal out there. >> the website starts to work and i think it will. >> david, there's a big question here about the actual policy that's being recommended. if young invincibles can keep
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catastrophic coverage, which isn't that great, when is the incentive to hop on new -- they will be informed if they wan to reenroll -- if you're someone not that inclined to sign up on the exchange in the first place, you have an extra year, that creates a huge solvency problem for insurance companies. >> absolutely. what we're talking about, we haven't had a discussion about what insurance is versus what health care is. insurance means we all pool the risk. the insurance means i essentially am covering your risk, you're covering my risk. i'm not a young person anymore. >> invincible. >> young, invincible is part of the calculation here. young invincibles are going to have to chip in for the risk pool, that they may not face it now but later or something terrible will happen, a chance of that, now back to the debate who has to pay in, who doesn't have to pay in when we're not having a conversation. the part about the care and
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delay and pooling that risk. >> you received a cancellation notice you said, i think. it took, according to insurers who are now the game is with the insurers, took months for those insurers to issue cancellation notices. they need to issue a whole host of new notices informing people of new rules and regulations. >> that's the thing. there was confusion before. all we had was the president's repeated statements. if you've got a plan you like, you can keep it. he said that many, many times. then along with the glitches of the website, which is a different problem, this new set of confusion, wait, i'm being canceled. now i'm uncanceled. it's a mess. it's a huge mess. i believe he had to do what he did and fix this because it was, read my lips new york city new tacks. it was new taxes. >> the issues the country faces what incentives to republicans have to work with president
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obama. the american public doesn't trust him as we saw with those polls. this is a complete disaster. why are they going to jump into the deep end with him at least after this. it's very difficult -- >> i was surprised he stood on stage as long as he did. he seems a wounded man today. >> this will get better. the fifth year is an awful year. a lot of pundits said it's true. a lot of piling on. some of his own supporters are demoralize. the website will get fixed, it will get better. obama care will be the law of the land and it will work. >> i like ending on the high note. thank you, governor. i'll see you tomorrow at noon eastern. andrea mitchell picks up our coverage starting now. >> thank you very much, alex. good day i'm aisndrea mitchell washington. if you like your plan you really can keep your plan. that's the message from president obama trying to keep his promise to american people and turn some of the negativity surrounding his health care law into a positive.


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